People on unemployment are not lazy. People not wanting to return to work is not them freeloading.
The fact is, COVID put on full display the fact that workers in minimum wage jobs are the pillars of our society.
COVID showed us that the traditional office space is obsolete. The vast majority of Americans who had the ability to work from home said their lives improved drastically.
COVID showed us that we do not need long, out-of-state or country business trips – wasted money and interrupted lives.
COVID exposed a long-broken and massively outdated set of business and economic standards in this country. People aren’t staying home because they are lazy. They are staying home because they know they deserve better than $290 gross per week for 40 hours of work.
They are staying home because they know it’s bullshit that they are considered “essential,” but get paid in dirt while non-essential workers making tens or hundreds of times more are at home, sipping coffee, doing their jobs in comfort.
Apparently the less essential you are, the more money you get to make.
For the first time in recent history, the American people were shown what life could be like when life is prioritized over the dollar. (Parents who were home with kids, I hear you and realize it wasn’t all a joy ride). COVID even exposed our complete lack of adequate childcare and early education services, but that’s for another post.
COVID forced new perspectives on us and shattered the fragile reasoning for keeping all your workers under close supervision in an office just for the sake of it. An America can exist where our workplace and hours are more flexible, allowing for more time with the people we love and to do the things we love.
So don’t be critical of those who are staying home, unemployed, after the world showed them they are worth far more than these employers pay them. How can you expect someone in that position to return to a norm in which they were plainly being exploited? You wouldn’t do it. You’d be pissed. You’d demand more for your time. And you’d be right to do so.
We put too much emphasis on work, on occupation, and in convincing ourselves that the sacrifices we make for our employers are worth the cost of those lost precious moments and relationships at home. COVID showed us we may not have to.
We’d have to be crazy to return to a pre-COVID framework.